7 Jun 2005

Choiseul wanting federal system not secession from Solomon Islands

8:16 pm on 7 June 2005

Authorities in Choiseul province in Solomon Islands say the region wants a federal government system, not a total secession.

A spokesman for the Batava community in north-west Choiseul, William Kutini, claims to have 2-hundred signatures on a petition, backing his call for talks on independence.

Mr Kutini is also asking for compensation for economic damage caused by the conflict on Bougainville, to the north.

Some people on Choiseul harboured Bougainville rebels, and fled into the bush for a year when Papua New Guinea soldiers arrived to chase their enemies out.

The acting premier of Choiseul, Franklin Papabatu, represents the Batava ward in the provincial assembly... and he wants to see Solomon Islands become a federation of allied states.

"We want to see a federal system of government rather than secede from the rest of the country. This point of secession is not an agenda to the current provincial government."

Mr Papabatu isn't aware of anyone standing in this month's Choiseul provincial elections on an independence platform.